Work from home: the basics
In recent times, improved technology has enabled many employers to experiment with having a work from home policy (or/and a remote work policy) for employees. For some companies, it has become a common practice; they either hire professionals who work fully remotely – even in different countries – or offer flexible work from home/remote work opportunities as benefits. How do they make it work? Usually, they provide employees with all the necessary gear, from live-messaging to project management tools to work virtually almost in the same way as they would in the office.
But not all companies and employers are familiar or comfortable with this relatively new work arrangement. They have more traditional operational systems and employees may not always be so tech-savvy. Not to mention that several roles require in-person contact or communication, for instance in healthcare or front-facing customer service, and telecommuting (yes, this is another word for work from home) is not a viable solution for them.
However, in certain cases, transitioning to work from home becomes imminent, for example during a health crisis (see COVID-19 in 2020) or even less complex situations, like moving to a new office. So, if you’re new to this – particularly to mitigate any kind of breakdown in workflow – the first thing you need to do is ensure that employees have everything they need to work effectively. If you cannot offer appropriate equipment and tools, be honest about it and figure out solutions with them (for example, allow use of personal laptops or permit them to attend meetings via phone).
Once you’ve ticked this box, share some tips with your employees on how to navigate through working from home successfully, avoiding undesirable consequences that might occur down the road such as lack of clarity in tasks, difficulty in communication, and common distractions in the home.
Here is our working from home tips email:
Subject line: Working from home tips for success
Dear [all/name of employee],
You’re about to experience the world of telecommuting (if you haven’t already). There’s a lot to gain; flexibility and better work-life balance are the two main pros. But, working virtually can be challenging at times, especially for those who are not familiar or even comfortable with it. That’s why we decided to put together some tips for you on how to effectively structure your day to remain productive and energetic.
Useful working from home tips:
- Craft a daily work routine: To put it simply, do what you would do in the office. Follow a certain schedule, structure your breaks, and in general, create rituals. This will help you stay more focused and keep your energy at a good level.
- Stick to your working hours: In the same tone, retain your working schedule as much as you can. We expect you to work for specific hours per day; if you need to change this plan for personal reasons, discuss it with your manager first. Let your team members know when they can reach out to you throughout the day and be available to them – they will be there for you, too.
- Stay online: It’s important to stay connected with your team and colleagues. Check your e-mail and [messaging app] regularly to receive your team’s requests and questions. Keep your calendar updated and hop into meetings with your camera and mic on. If you face issues with any of your primary tools, [e.g. mention main tools or apps], reach out to [IT/other department] at [address and/or phone number] to work on quick solutions and inform your team leader about it.
- Check your internet connection: Make sure you have a secure internet connection and fast enough to keep things rolling at all times. Follow all internet security guidelines diligently and do not connect to untrustworthy providers.
- Create a workspace: Having a dedicated room/desk/corner, where you can sit comfortably solely for work, will help you concentrate more. Keep all essential items within your reach. If you live with family or roommates, be transparent with them about your expectations during work time, especially when you are in calls/meetings with colleagues, customers, and partners.
- Limit distractions: Whether that’s scrolling through social media or cooking your lunch, it’s better to separate work from personal duties. This will enable you to retain your focus and dedicate your time to your duties.
- Share your thoughts with your manager and team: Working remotely sometimes can lead to the fear of missing out. Remember that your manager and team members are always there to hear your ideas and updates. Welcome their feedback to boost your performance and feel free to openly communicate your concerns with your teammates.
- Remember to socialize and have fun: Relationships with colleagues are important. Having them around only virtually can become confusing. The good thing is you can still get to know them during 1:1 meetings and calls. Share a laugh whenever you can, and socialize. We trust that you know how to keep things in balance.
We respect that every person is different – we believe that you can make it work on your own terms. After all, we want to make sure that you have everything you need to contribute to our mission and make the best out of this journey.
[Your e-mail signature]
Disclaimer: This email template is meant to provide general guidelines and should be used as a reference. It may not take into account all relevant local, state or federal laws and is not a legal document. Neither the author nor Workable will assume any legal liability that may arise from the use of this template.